"No better way is there to learn to love Nature than to understand Art. It dignifies every flower of the field. And, the boy who sees the thing of beauty which a bird on the wing becomes when transferred to wood or canvas will probably not throw the customary stone." —Oscar Wilde
From an early age, Spencer Tinkham (b.1992) became enthralled with the study of nature, admiring the rich diversity found along winding Chesapeake Bay tributaries. Tinkham realized he could preserve his fleeting encounters with nature's inhabitants through sculpture. In particular, a fascination with migratory shorebirds and waterfowl inspired his journey into the arts.
There is a long-standing tradition of crafting birds in wood, ranging from duck decoys to totem poles. Tinkham is self-taught and creates nature-inspired wood sculptures using primitive tools like a box cutter, hacksaw, and wood rasps. He travels across the country to research specimens found in natural history museums, discovering the fascinating individual narratives birds have courted for millennia. The ecological fates of birds and humans are intertwined. Tinkham shares specific stories of birds as a witness to natural and unnatural change. Their fragile beauty and unsung voices become magnified so as not to be missed by the careless eye.
Most recently, Spencer was awarded the Marilyn Newmark Memorial Grant by the National Sculpture Society. He was selected as a David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year 2023 finalist. “Colaptes auratus auratus” was juried into the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson “Birds in Art 2022” museum exhibition and acquired for the museum collection. He has work in the Dollar Tree, Inc. corporate art collection, and his work is collected and exhibited internationally.